Freshman Retreat Evokes Mixed Emotions

by Taylor Bailey – Staff Writer

The Freshman Retreat took place on Sept. 21 at Kentlake High School instead of Lake Retreat. The goal was for freshman to get to know each other, the staff, and the school. When students went to school that day, they first got into groups and took role. Freshman were then sent to the Preforming Arts Center for presentations on the Core values of a Falcon. They also listened to older student’s experiences at Kentlake. After that some students left to play games while the other students stayed and made a chant. Next, they had lunch and were sent back to the P.A.C. There they listened to more inspirational speeches and a pep rally. At the end, they were dismissed to go home. On their way out the got free shirts.

At first reactions to the retreat were mixed. Some freshman thought that the retreat was great, and some freshman thought it was terrible.

When asked if he enjoyed the retreat, Connor Runyon said, “No, all the games were just awkward ice breakers.” Then he said what was ironic was that, the day before the freshman retreat, Mrs. Pizzalato assured all freshmen that the games were not going to be just “ice breakers.” Pizzalato said, “I tried to warn everybody beforehand because I had talked to them in homeroom the day before and I told them the retreat is what you make of it.” While there were students who disliked the retreat, they did say that it had one redeeming quality: the free t-shirt.

Other students enjoyed the retreat. One of the main reasons student found the day enjoyable was because they liked their group members. Blue Woods said, “I enjoyed the retreat because I had fun with my friends and the leader was fun.” Additionally, Gavin Nicholson said, “Yes, [I had fun] because my group was really cool and made it fun.”

A big part of the freshman retreat is the games. Although all the games were popular, the one that everyone seems to love the most, was the sculpture building where students were supposed to choose a core value and represent it by building a sculpture. Students liked it because they had fun doing it with their friends, because they won, and because they thought it was funny. Adam Laws said, “My favorite event was the art activity because we made some cool artistic stuff with some junk.”

Another activity was the scavenger hunt which was an activity designed to help students know where things are located around the school. Gavin Nicholson said, “My favorite was the scavenger hunt because it was funny because of my teacher.” The gift activity was also one freshman liked. In the gift activity, freshman sat in a circle and nominated people to receive a gift, however, nobody knew what the gift was.

While students’ reactions were mixed, teachers thought the event was an overall success. Science teacher, Jessica Pizzalato said, “Actually, I thought it went really well, obviously it’s a loss to not be at Lake Retreat anymore, but having all the students in one day made it actually easier to feel like we could just go all out and have fun for one big day, rather than having it separated into two days.”

Spokane Devestated By School Shooting

by Nicholas Shepard – Web Editor

On September 13th, Caleb Sharpe came to school with two weapons, both of which belonged to his father and he had taken without permission; an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle and a .32-caliber handgun. Hi rampage that followed resulted in the death of one student and the non-fatal shooting of three others. Freeman High School, where he had just begun his sophomore year, is about ten miles southeast of Spokane.

Other students at Freeman High School told authorities that Sharpe had said he was “going to do something stupid and might get killed or sent to jail”. He had brought notes on various school shootings to school on previous occasions, and reportedly watched the documentary “Mind of a Rampage Killer”, about 10 times.

The victim of Sharpe’s attack, fellow student Sam Strahan, was shot first in the abdomen and then in the cheek, and there is evidence to suggest that Strahan was one of various specific targets Sharpe had in mind. Detectives found a yearbook while searching his home, in which 26 students’ photos, including Strahan’s, were marked with “X Kill”. Different notes Sharpe took were also found, which included statements such as “Killing is fun and I enjoy it,” “I am the one who deserves to live,”, and “I am smarter than the cops.”

Strahan had allegedly been friends with Sharpe in the past, but in recent years they had drifted apart. Sharpe’s intention, he told detectives, was to teach everyone a lesson about bullying and what it can do to a person. “Sharpe said the plan went exactly as intended,” as detectives wrote in court documents. As of now no evidence suggests that Sharpe was suicidal or intended to end his life after committing the shooting.

Witnesses reported that Strahan attempted to talk down Sharpe, which is when he began shooting. After Sharpe shot Strahan he fired into a group of girls, hurting three of them, before being overpowered by a janitor.

Drama Department Aims to ‘Pull It Off’

by Evan Williamson – Staff Writer

Daisy Pulls It Off Performance dates: Nov. 9, 10, 11 Nov. 16, 17, 18 Ticket Prices: $10 at the door $8 w/ ASB $8 senior citizens

While the budget cuts and new directors may be a challenge, the drama department will be performing Daisy Pulls It Off for this year’s first play.

Co-Director, Alex Chopyak said, “Originally, we had another play chosen but due to the fact that we didn’t have enough men to audition we had to change the play kind of last minute.” Daisy Pulls It Off was eventually selected. “We had to pick a show that was cheap because of the budget,” says Co-Director, Sarah Wilson. “We had to choose something that we felt like would not be expensive, would be a lot of fun, and would use the most characters possible.” There’s a total of 35 students participating in the play, 20 of those acting and the other 15 doing tech on stage.

The play, Daisy Pulls It Off, is a British play written in 1983 by Denise Deegan. Set in 1927, the play is about a young girl named Daisy who comes from a family that is not as well off as one would hope. Everything changes for Daisy when she is accepted into an all-girls school on scholarship; the first girl ever to accomplish the feat. She struggles to fit in as she is victim to schoolgirl pranks from the wealthier girls.

This play worked out for the drama department’s challenges. It requires a large number of female characters and it’s not a musical. “I’m excited because our play is really jazzy. There’s a lot of fun stuff in it, like sneaking around. It’s pretty much Mean Girls but better,” says lead actress, Robyn Janssen. She’s playing the role of Daisy in the production. You may have seen Robyn in shows in the past. “Last year I played the mother in A Christmas Story, the musical, and then mother superior in Sister Act,” Robyn says. The department is looking forward to the production. “I just want them [the cast] to have fun and I want them to get to experience it,” says Chopyak, “I want them to just enjoy it because if they’re enjoying it then the audience will enjoy it as well.”

Along with some returning actors, there are some new faces in charge this year. Sarah Wilson is replacing Pam Cressey as the drama director. This isn’t the first time she’s gotten involved with drama. “Most of the time before I came to Kentlake I taught drama,” said Wilson, “I have a masters in Fine Arts in Acting and Directing. So, I’ve played on stages in Washington, D.C. I’ve acted a lot myself and I’ve also directed a lot of plays both in school and out of school.” “I think Mrs. Wilson has been doing a really great job. She’s taken over and done the staging while I focus more on the tech and we make a really good team,” said Co-Director Alex Chopyak. Chopyak is also new to the Kentlake stage. He also has directing experience as he has directed shows in college as well as done tech for shows during that time. Robyn Janssen said, “It’s nice to have two directors so we get two opinions. It’s different but I think our drama changed for the better.”

So, can they pull it off? Mrs. Wilson said, “Well we’re aiming for clean of course! I guess everyone will just have to come and see.”

Community Earthquake Preparedness

by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer

September 19, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City claiming at least 200 lives and thousands of buildings damaged residents in the Pacific Northwest wonder what will happen when the “Big One” finally happens?

With the Mexico City earth quake leaving thousands displaced and an estimated 2 billion dollars in damage leaving the west coast wondering, “what will happen when the big one happens?” The West Coast has been hearing that they need to prepare for when the predicted 10.0-11.0 magnitude earthquake that will hit the West Coast in the next 20 years. More than 4.5 million people In Washington and Oregon will be impacted when the “Big One” hits. One of the greatest risks that come with earthquakes are buildings collapsing causing injuries, damage and sometimes death.

The earths outer layer is made up of giant tectonic plates that are always sliding past creating seismic activity. The Juan de Fuca plate that under the North American plate have been grinding against each other for eons and get stuck for 200-300 years at a time. Scientists say that Washington is 100-116 years overdue from another massive earthquake that will shake the region. In addition to this an underwater fault will break once the earthquake occurs possibly causing a tsunami that will wipe out the entire city of Seattle and hundreds of small seaside towns stretching from the Vancouver Islands to the Northern Coast of California.

Here is what to do to prepare for when the “Big One” occurs. Pay attention and learn from the Mason County Cascadia Rising Drills that happen yearly, where they have a mock tsunami and earthquake drill that helps them determine what works and what doesn’t in the case of an emergency. Create an emergency preparedness plan for your home, school and work. Make sure you identify the best places to seek shelter in your building such as, sturdy desks and tables, the frame of a strong interior door. In the event of an earthquake makes sure you stay away from all large furniture, mirrors, windows, kitchen cabinets and anything that won’t be stable during the quake. Make sure you teach everyone how to signal for help if they are trapped.

Another thing to do in preparation for any natural disaster is learning basic CPR and first aid, and if you don’t know it, make sure that someone you are with does. Local Red Cross centers hold monthly classes along with having online courses. Decide a rallying point for all your family to meet at after the quake and immediate aftershocks have stopped. Learn also how to turn off all the utilities in your house, especially your gas line. Develop routes with several methods of getting home after the quake has happened because you never know when a quake can happen.

Make sure that you also have 7-10 days of food and water stored in a waterproof bin, also containing first aid supplies, batteries, flashlights, candles and matches. Other things that are useful in an emergency kit are, fire blankets, foldable rain ponchos and a CB radio that you can use to contact someone for help if you are trapped without power and cell service.

In the event of an earthquake at Kentlake students and staff “drop, cover, and hold” under desk. Once the shaking has stopped admin and security will assess the building for any structural damage. After that happens there will be an announcement for students and staff to go out to the football field just like we do during fire drills and follow all of the check-in protocols.

Respecting the Flag: Pro vs. Con

by Joshua Manning and Harris Yun – Staff Writers

Con

Respecting the flag is something that in my opinion is very poorly defined. What exactly does it mean to disrespect the flag? Why does the flag deserve our undying respect? Why is it looked down on to not respect a piece of cloth? Well, most would argue that the flag represents something more than just a cloth, it represents the nation and everyone who has fought for it. In that case, the question of “should we respect the flag?” turns into the question “should we respect the nation?”. Well that depends on what you mean by respect, if by respect you mean having sympathy for all the causes of the nation no matter what, then you can count me out and here is why.

There is no set of beliefs, ideas, or organizations that are granted special privilege and are exempt from criticism. The nation itself doesn’t have the right to not be questioned and it most certainly shouldn’t expect that from citizens who are granted the right to freedom of thought and expression through its government. The nation’s ideals can and should be brought into question by the public, that is how we start new conversations about how our legislature should and shouldn’t change. How are we supposed to know if people are unhappy with current laws and regulations if all we see is everyone showing unquestioned loyalty towards the nation and what it stands for.

The recent case of athletes kneeling during the national anthem is a prime example of people using symbolic speech (something that is protected by the first amendment) to raise awareness of issues they have with the nation in which they are affected by. Kneeling during the anthem is a perfectly safe and valid way of protesting a set of ideas which they feel haven’t properly represented their best interests. Collin Kaepernick for instance kneeled because he feels as though police brutality is currently a huge issue which the government has not done much about and he wanted to bring attention to that through symbolic speech of kneeling during the anthem.

It should not be considered taboo to criticize your own country, in fact it should be the norm. Criticizing something means you have legitimate concerns about it and, most importantly, shows that you care about it. Too often I see the conflation of ideas and beliefs with people, and they are not the same thing. Nations and the things they stand for (their ideas) are not people, they don’t have the right to not be harshly criticized, quite the opposite in fact. We should criticize the nation and what it stands for if we feel we have legitimate concerns. If we do not raise our voice then our problems with the nation in which we are a part and therefore directly affects us will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes and our right to freedom of speech will have been utterly wasted.

Pro

There has been some recent controversy over football players kneeling during the national anthem. Some people feel like disrespecting the flag and what it stands for is the best way to speak out against the issues that people in America face today. This, however, both misrepresents the stance of the people who do not respect the flag and overall further fractures the country.

The flag represents more than the current country – it represents the ideals the country was founded upon. You might not agree with the current president’s policies, or the laws in this country, or who enforces those laws, but the flag is something above; it is the ideal image of equality and just treatment. By not showing proper respect for it, someone gives off the impression that they do not agree with those ideals, not merely the way the government chooses to interpret those ideals; the ideals that all men (and women) are created equal, that everybody has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Furthermore, this is unnecessarily fracturing the country when unity is needed most. In order to fight the injustices that people are facing, we need to unify, not divide. The 60s civil rights movement would not have been possible without unity on the side of the protesters. The only way they were able to right the injustices they saw in the system was to unify behind a cohesive message, with clearly defined goals. Not respecting the flag is both highly divisive and does not send a clear message. There are those who are on the fence, and this only hurts the cause by creating more confusion and driving them away.

I respect people’s right to free speech, and by no means am I telling them that they should be punished for this, or that this should be illegal; merely saying that those who wish to unify the country against these issues would be better served by making a public statement instead of spitting in the symbol of the very ideals they wish was a reality.

World Ending Catastrophe or Climate Change?

by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer

With all the recent natural disasters that have occurred it leaves some begging for the answer to one simple question. Is the world ending? Sorry to disappoint, but no, the world is not ending. In fact, it’s actually something much worse. Climate change.

Climate change is the evil child produced from factory use, gas emissions from cars, the usage of electronic items, the beef industry, oil spills, and fracking. The combustion of these fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases releases high amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Many believe that climate change only effects the polar ice caps, however those people would be wrong. The issues that are present because of climate change is yes, the melting polar icecaps but also changing rainfall patterns, global temperature spikes, and an increase of frequency in hurricanes.

Now I know what many of you are thinking, wait what? Did you just tell me that the old wives tale of climate change is the reason that parts of the south are in ruin with thousands of people without homes? Yes, I did; and here’s why. Hurricane Irma was as strong as it was because of the 1.2 to 1.8-degree Fahrenheit warmer water temperature, which allowed the warm water to seep deeper in the ocean. That combined with weak high-altitude winds, which help end the storm, made Irma the most devastating hurricane we have seen in the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Hurricanes however are not the only thing that is being caused by climate change. The oceans themselves are becoming more and more acidic every day. And this is how it’s happening. The ocean plays a massive role in maintaining the Earth’s carbon cycle balanced. However, as more and more carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere the ocean absorbs a lot of it. When the ocean and the carbon dioxide combines with sea water it reacts to create carbonic acid. This carbonic acid is the reason that the oceans are more acidic and why the coral reefs are decaying and dying across the world.

NFL Players Kneeling: Pro vs. Con

by Jason Thiel and Evan Swearingen – Staff Writers

Pro

The NFL has been something that has brought Americans together for decades. Families and friends get together to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the field. Of course, there have been controversies and it causes arguments and drama, but at the end of the day, the sport generally brings people together. Because of this, these players have a huge influence on their viewers. Kids idolize these people as heroes who persevere through the worst of the worst in order to attain success. So, why is it so insulting for these heroes to take a stand for what they believe for? Why is a large portion of the country, including our president, chastising them for using their rights laid down by the founding fathers to speak up for what they believe in?

First off, because I respect the rights of these players to take a knee or lock arms, I also understand that people have the right to speak out against it. Both are examples of free speech and expression, which are protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, I have an issue with people who think that these players should be fired or that they should not be doing what they are doing. For example, President Trump encouraged the coaches to fire the players who took a knee during the anthem, which would be a blatantly obvious violation of the First Amendment. Shouldn’t the President of the United States understand what the basic rights of free speech are, that are outlined in the document that regulates him and our government? It is like trying to play a sport but not knowing any of the rules. You just sort of grab a ball and run around until you get tackled, hit with a bat, slip on ice, etc. Anyone who did that would look like a bumbling baboon with no intelligence or coordination.

Additionally, a lot of people have taken the stance that the players should not be taking a knee because it is disrespectful to our flag. This is something that is just backwards. People have fought and died for this country to protect the rights that the players are using, and they have absolutely every right to do it. They are not gunning people down to get back at the government, they are taking a knee during the national anthem to peacefully protest certain things that are happening in this country. I respect if you are a veteran and feel personally upset, but you have to remember that objectively, they can and should stand up for what they believe in, peacefully. I acknowledge why people would feel upset that the players are doing that, which is respective a different perspective. That same logic needs to be applied to these players by the people upset at the NFL, because otherwise our country will continue to polarize until it’s irreversible.

Con

Across the nation, athletes on professional teams have been debating if kneeling instead of standing for our national anthem is a righteous way to protest injustice and police brutality against minorities.

American people, due to overexposure, have become numb to the real message of the Star-Spangled Banner: Homage to their soldiers that have faced tragedies and died to protect the United States, and recognizing the colony’s victory over the British, resulting in the United States’ value of freedom. Using that given freedom to protest what gave them freedom is not only an oxymoron, but disrespectful to the fighting soldiers and veterans as well. The song is about the United States’ triumph over opposition. Not standing for that is not thanking veterans for their service.

It is an issue that our national anthem is played entirely too often, causing this disconnect between Americans and what their national anthem stands for. The national anthem has no real right to even be played at many sports games except for international ones. Sports do not symbolize freedom or respect for troops in any way. However, while sports is absolutely no place for politics, the national anthem is certainly no platform to protest police brutality because it inherently communicates that American values are worthless, even if that’s not the intention of those who protest.

Some may argue that it is okay to kneel for the flag instead of standing for it because it exercises the citizens’ first amendment right—specifically, the right to peacefully protest. While this is true, and citizens absolutely have the right to not stand for the flag, that doesn’t mean

that they should. Kneeling for the flag still argues against freedom and respect, which ends up being morally grey at best.

Standing versus not standing is so much more than a battle of patriotism. Some may even view that kneeling is patriotic by bringing an issue to light, in an attempt to better this country. This is not to downplay the problem that is police brutality on minorities, but there are definitely better ways of bringing those issues to light in a way that doesn’t disrespect others.

Are You Too Old to Go Trick Or Treating?

by Elizabeth Gerken – Staff Writer

Trick or treating is a Halloween tradition for children across the country and it should end when we hit adulthood. As children age into teenagers, a lot of people find it hard to let go of things that were enjoyed in childhood like trick or treating, which is fine, so long as you do not do anything stupid or dangerous while surrounded by crowds of young children. However, once you turn 18 or 19 and enter adulthood it is inappropriate to go trick or treating because as you age, the Halloween traditions change. Once they reach young adulthood more people are drinking and partying. Going trick or treating at that point its wrong because no five-year-old wants to see a drunk 20-something in a sexy ladybug costume walking down the street with her equally scandalous friends trying to get candy from other adults.

Even though some people aren’t into going to parties and inappropriate costumes, as they get older their profit from trick or treating decreases. This is because most of society thinks that they are too old for trick or treating and they do not give you candy.

One big reason people use to justify going trick or treating is that they are going with their younger siblings or even children to supervise them. In this scenario, it is perfectly fine to go out and dress up but you do not need to take candy because like I said before, by the time you are around 18 people will not give you candy anymore anyway.

Yes, this may be just a weird societal norm that dictates what is childish and people can try to fight it all they want but not much is going to change. People will always find it odd seeing a group of 19-year-olds dressed up as zombies and ghosts going around asking houses for candy. Some people do go out with their little siblings and its okay if they do but don’t take candy for themselves. If people go out after they turn 18 or 19 by themselves or with friends their age it’s going to be weird regardless of whether they go out drinking or wear sexy ladybug costumes with their girlfriends because people are going to think it’s creepy for an adult to go around asking other adults for free candy. Besides, theyre not going to get anything out of it other than walking around a neighborhood surrounded by kids and maybe a few pieces of candy.

Shortened Homeroom Irritates Senior

by Evan Swearingen – Staff Writer

The Kent School District still requires the culminating project for graduation—and the students are being given less time to work on it.

Last year, homeroom was a 45-minute long class which occurred weekly. This allowed students to not only to work on their culminating project, but meet with their advisory teacher and work on other classes they may be behind on as well. In contrast, homeroom this year is only 30 minutes long, and students only go to it biweekly. This means that students only have two-thirds of the time that they used to have in order to work on their culminating projects.

Meeting with homeroom teachers less often creates an issue where students are in competition with one another for time with their homeroom teacher. Not only that, but the homeroom teacher has less class time to read and sign papers for all of their students, like approving community service and job shadows, as well as the paperwork required for graduation like resumes. In fact, totaling all of the homeroom classes this year (including the ones that have already been held), students only have homeroom 18 times, leaving 15 homeroom classes left as of now.

Homeroom is 15 minutes shorter compared to last year, and this limits student studying time. Certain students in extra-curricular activities, such as drama, get home late and do not have a lot of time to study for difficult classes, especially if students are in AP classes. Some may argue that class time is more efficient for studying, and while class time certainly does help students prepare for classes, it does not give the time for personal study and memorization time that most AP classes require.

So then the question arises: How could the homeroom problem be solved without dissolving students’ valuable class time? One potential solution would be to move homeroom to another week day, like Monday, and keep last year’s schedule. However, this would be quite a radical change in the opposite direction compared to the current schedule, and it seems like too large of a step backwards compared to what the district was trying to do this year.

Another solution would be to make homeroom weekly again, making the new Wednesday schedule consistent. This solution would partially solve the studying issue by

allotting 30 more minutes each week to homeroom as well as the paper-signing issue, giving more time to homeroom teachers so they may sign papers.

The current homeroom schedule does not work. It is too short and too infrequent for students to get anything done in terms of their culminating project, which is required for graduation. There are certainly improvements to be made.

Culminating Project a Hassle For Seniors

stressed student

by Harris Yun – Staff Writer

As seniors enter their (hopefully) final year of highschool, there is plenty enough hanging over them. However, one thing stands out in particular – the culminating project. It is supposed to represent the final ‘culmination’ of our high school experience and learning, and prepare us for life after government-mandated education. While well-intentioned, however, this is an outdated and frankly, ridiculous requirement for graduation.

Ask any senior in the halls, and they will tell you that the culminating project sucks. It constantly hovers over us, and it is incredibly stressful. It is a project that we have to complete in order to graduate, and most of us do not really see the point. Sure, the whole thing takes only about a week to do (minus the community service), but in the end, it is a week of wasted time; time that could be used to actually prepare seniors for the ‘real world’.

In reality, the culminating project is kind of outdated. Every year, more and more seniors by the time they graduate either already have a job or are not planning to get one anytime soon, in which case the culminating project loses its purpose. In addition, the project pushes us towards college, even if we do not really want to go. In fact, in recent years, the amount of students who go to college without really knowing what they wanted to do, only going because they were told it was the right choice, has risen dramatically. This, obviously, is problematic.

Past that, there are better ways to prepare students for life after high school than a mandatory project. The resources spent on presenting and evaluating the project could instead be put towards a class on budgeting, or changing the project altogether into something that would actually prepare us for the world of bills and taxes in life after we move out of our parents’ houses. In fact, instead of using countless hours of homeroom time (something that has also been shortened) for this outdated project, you could use that time to teach students real life skills.

Sure, the community service is nice for getting students to connect with their community, but the fact of the matter is that either people will do the bare minimum required to graduate, or get over 50 hours a year – there is basically no in-between.

In the end, though, the culminating project is a ridiculous requirement for graduation and does not help students for life after high school at all – and we need to either change it, or get rid of it altogether.